I’ve been hearing for months about how good Downton Abbey is from Jesse Thorn, but I hadn’t really thought to check it out for myself. Then some comedians like Patton Oswalt started tweeting about it all the time, and my interest continued to be tepid. It’s a show about some stuffy family or whatever. What could hold my interest? Then one of my American coworkers asked if I knew about it, and if I was watching it since I pass on recommendations from time to time. This isn’t someone that I would think would find interest in it, although he is a history buff, so I was really impressed that he recommended it and explained that it was something that doesn’t seem like it would be watchable, but said that after five minutes it will stuck you in and you’ll realize only after a short period that you want to see the rest of the series.
Despite being deeply skeptical that such a claim could be true, I have been on a British show kick recently. The most recent British things I’ve watched have been the revived Doctor Who season 5 (Having watched all the rest of the stuff leading up to it now sans specials, I get why David Tennant fans found parts of this season lacking now, but I still liked it a lot,) QI (Stephen Fry is hilarious), and Jekyll (starts of strong, then but hasn’t been holding my interest enough to finish…so hammy). Why not add a semi-historical period piece about the lives of the upper and lower crust of society in England in the early 1900′s. It’s not like I’m going to be watching the Superbowl or anything, so why not give this a chance? Besides, Mad Men isn’t back for a while, so I don’t have a period drama to watch anyway, and it takes a lot for me to be interested in a piece of semi-historical drama to care at all.
I have to say after watching the first episode today on my own, I haven’t been this excited to have a potential show to watch with my wife since The Walking Dead. I can’t be bothered to stay up late to watch the show about zombies with my wife anymore, but when I told her I found a new show to watch, I wanted to clear my schedule and sit down with her immediately so we could start on the first episode. My wife is totally on board with another show for us to watch together too.
Downton Abbey plays to her interests too. She loves historical dramas, with all the forbidden or secret love, the plotting, the backstabbing, and all the drama of the period. Usually I just bow out of the room when something like that comes on because they are all in Korean. Luckily it has all of these things and is filled with fantastic acting and English (with subtitles in Korean available). I didn’t think I’d give a damn about the show at all, but there are members of the cast that have tugged my heartstrings and made me swear at them multiple times within minutes of their first appearance on screen. It’s incredible. There are so many characters, and so much going on, but you want to see it all through.
I’ll be working my way through this series, and it is great to have something to watch with my wife again. I’m going to have to thank my coworker when I see him again for the recommendation.